News & Insights 10 October 2019

World Mental Health Day- The importance of staff wellbeing

World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. This year it will be held on 10th October 2019 and we will definitely be marking it as an organisation to boost the conversation on mental health. At Action Tutoring we have been doing a lot of work over the past year to increase focus on staff wellbeing and positive mental health. So many of us have been affected by mental health – according to the World Health Organisation, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. This is not something any organisation can or should ignore.

To me, it makes so much sense to prioritise the wellbeing of our staff. Healthy staff will perform better in their roles, have positive relationships at work, take fewer sick days, stay in the organisation longer and be much more engaged and motivated. But most of all, I want Action Tutoring to be a good, considerate employer that looks after our staff well. According to this book we spend around 80,000 hours at work, and this time can have a huge effect on our wellbeing. If our workplaces don’t prioritise our mental wellbeing, that can have big consequences.

According to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA):

  • Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society.
  • Mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year.
  • Mental ill health costs UK employers £34.9 billion each year

Over the past year, there are a few ways we have tried to improve our staff wellbeing. These include:

  1. We have had an Employee Assistance programme in place for a few years however usage has historically been low. We have promoted this much more this year and have seen usage increase. One way that has particularly helped is through people openly talking about their experiences using the service and breaking down any taboos of accessing counselling or other support.
  2. We have trained two Mental Health First Aiders who, as well as being a safe person for employees to speak to if they are struggling, are also taking a lead on improving our communications and openness around mental health.
  3. We have introduced ‘Headspace for Work’, offering a subscription to the meditation app to staff, to help support their wellbeing. Research has shown 30 days of Headspace use lowers stress by 32%, and just 4 sessions reduces burnout by 14%.
  4. We have included staff wellbeing sessions at team away days, on weekly email bulletins, team meetings and as part of our induction process. We use these to promote what services are on offer, share tips for positive wellbeing and personal experiences.
  5. We have introduced a Staff Wellbeing Guide which includes a summary of all services on offer through Action Tutoring, some tips and advice for supporting our own wellbeing as well as those around us and links to local external services for all of our staff around the country

If you are interested in changing your workplace wellbeing culture, there are many places to go for free resources and advice. Mind, MHFA, Time to Change are just a few. I am so pleased with the impact this has had on our team and the feedback we have received, there are so many benefits and you will have a happier, healthier workforce as a result.